Friday, May 6, 2011

Gadhafi’s Son Killed

The damaged house in Tripoli
There have been reports that one of Gadhafi’s younger sons and several of his grandchildren had been killed in a NATO Air Strike. The Libyan government responded by vowing to retaliate with death to "invaders" in the nation. Apparently Gadhafi and his wife were in their son's house when it was targeted, but were uninjured.

The strikes destroyed the house in Tripoli, leaving a massive crater where it used to be. The building was located in a residential area of the capital. That makes it very hard for NATO to claim it was attacked as part of their mandate to enforce the “No Fly Zone” and to protect civilians.

I am not at all sure just how I feel about this incident. There is no question that Gadhafi has to go and assassinating him is certainly one way to accomplish that. However, an air strike that had the potential to kill his children and grandchildren in addition or instead of him (which is exactly what happened) –I don’t know, this one is hard to get behind. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever of dropping a 500 lbs bomb on Gadhafi’s head. My objection is dropping it on his son’s residence and thereby knowingly endangering the lives of the children.

My second objection is the way NATO is failing to take responsibility for the air strike. A NATO official said in a statement that he was "aware of unconfirmed media reports that some of Gadhafi's family members may have been killed."

"We regret all loss of life, especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of this ongoing conflict," said Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO's military operations. "NATO is fulfilling its U.N. mandate to stop and prevent attacks against civilians with precision and care -- unlike Gadhafi's forces, which are causing so much suffering." The NATO commander stated that all targets "are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the Gadhafi regime's systemic attacks on the Libyan population ... We do not target individuals."

Bombing a single house in a residential neighborhood, without hitting anything else is a perfect example of precision munitions used in a “surgical” strike. Such attacks are carefully planned, timed and executed. NATO knew damned well what they were doing and who they were after. They bring dishonor to themselves and the whole effort when they play political games and claim they don’t know anything about the attack. Come on, already, that is just the kind of thing you’d expect from Gadhafi’s government. It is what we would have expected from the Iranians or the Koreans, not from NATO.

As for the Libyan government, they slammed NATO after the airstrike, calling it an illegal act and a "war crime."

Gunfire broke out around Tripoli after the news came out. A crowd of demonstrators gathered around the ruler's compound. Images on Libyan state TV showed what appeared to be dozens of people chanting and waving flags.

Protesters could be heard yelling, "We want to redeem the martyr," and, "Oh youth, this is time for jihad." And "We will make Libya the grave of all invaders".

This should be making us all a little nervous about what Gadhafi will do to get his “revenge”. Libya has been responsible for a number of successful terrorist attacks, including the bringing down of the Pan Am jetliner over Scotland. Gadhafi, in his personal grief, could easily order another such attack. The “outraged” supporters of Gadhafi may even turn on Western Journalists, as easy and convenient targets, to take out their anger.

No, I am not at all sure that this attack was a very good or well thought out idea.

This is not the first time Gadhafi has reportedly been at the site of an airstrike that killed one of his children. In April 1986, his adopted daughter, Hanna Gadhafi, was killed when U.S. forces launched an airstrike that targeted his residential compound.

At the time, U.S. President Ronald Reagan said the strikes were an act of self-defense following the bombing of a West Berlin, Germany, club that killed two American servicemen and injured several others.

I would be very interested in knowing what you think about all of this.


Civil War
150 years ago today:

Arkansas secedes from the Union;
Tennessee legislature calls for popular vote on secession.

Live Long and Prosper....


Ted Leddy said...


Like you, this air strike did not sit well with me. However I don't think this conflict is very complicated. I think it is one of those rare situations where killing one man would pretty much solve the whole thing. Since assassinations are illegal I wonder why the CIA or French secret service dont get someone (possibly someone he trusts) to kill him. It would avoid a repeat of this type of airstrike which Ghadaffi is a master at exploiting. As for NATO's silence, I imagine it is in order to confirm whether Ghadaffi's grandchildren were actually harmed. As far as I am aware it has not been independently verified. Isn't it a pity it was a cruise missile that hit his sons house, and not 30 Navy Seals.


Gary said...


The more I think about this particular strike, the more I don't like it -particularly in light of the capabilities of the Special Operations people as demonstrated so well with bin Laden.

In that strike only one "non-combatant" was even injured in spite of the fact that in the chaos of the moment a large number of hysteric women and children were running around and even charging the SEALs.

As for this conflict, I am afraid it is progressing exactly as I thought it would and I think it will go on the same way -only ending with 2 states in a perpetual guerrilla war with each other along tribal lines rather than purely political -or, as you mentioned, with the killing of Gadhafi. While I personally believe this is the far better option and we obviously have that capability -I just do not believe Obama will authorize it in this case.

Perhaps France will want to show off the abilities of their special ops guys and do it..... we can only hope.